How to create a craft room work table using file cabinets.
Just as a recap here is what the side of the room looked like before…
…it wasn’t bad, but I knew I could make it better.
Do you see the grey laminate file cabinets and the top that creates a desk? This was left by the previous owner in an upstairs closet that they had made into a hideaway office. We didn’t need it so I brought it to my studioffice to set up as a sewing table.
Once I found out how wonderful it was to have a larger flat surface to work at while sitting down, I dreamed bigger and that is what I did. I doubled the size of the original desk by buying one more file cabinet and a piece of plywood that was the same size and thickness as the grey laminate desktop.
The metal file cabinets that I had chalk painted a few years ago that are to the right in the photo I gave to the thrift store. I also donated the IKEA Billy shelving units and many of the books on them to make more space for what I really needed – a large work table to sit at.
Before I started the desk makeover I painted the off-white grasscloth walls in the room to white. I used Sherwin Williams Pure White 7005 in an eggshell finish.
The pink cowhide fabric (Udder Madness) on the chair is from the round tablecloth I made to cover my rickety old sewing machine cabinet in my previous house. It was from Fabrics.com, but is no longer available in pink. :-( You can see I also used it to make a cover for my sewing machine on the far end of the work table.
I even posted about how I covered a tissue box with pink gift wrap that is by the lamp.
How I Made a Craft Room Work Table Using File Cabinets
- 3 file cabinets that are all the same height
- Two 3/4″ thick oak/maple/or poplar plywood boards – I had one existing grey laminate desktop, but had the other cut to the same size of the desktop so I would have 2 identically sized pieces: 26-1/2″ x 5′ – 0″ Optional: Use hollow core doors as your work table top
- Band-It Veneer Edging 3/4″ Birch Iron-On
- Band-It Trimmer or sharp craft knife
- Waverly Inspirations Chalk paint in White
- Minwax Polycrylic in Satin
- Giani Countertop paint – Top Coat Polyurethane Sealer – it is water-based and non-yellowing
- Baseboard and shoe molding
- Liquid Nails
- Paint brush and small foam roller
- Optional: Gold spray paint for file drawer pulls
I started with the file cabinets #1 and #2 and the desktop #3. I did an online search to find file cabinet #4. It had to be the same height as the existing file cabinets. I had a piece of 3/4″ maple plywood that has a smooth surface, cut at Lowes to the same size as the existing grey laminate desktop.
I found this Anna Griffin 3 Drawer File Cabinet in white on Amazon. It was 28.25″ high that matched the height of the two existing file cabinets I had. Placed in the middle it adds interest to the worktable.
The new Anna Griffen cabinet was slightly off-white and the inside a pale yellow. Since I was painting the existing grey file cabinets white, I painted this using the same white paint also.
I have shown how to finish the raw edge of plywood or particle board before using the very nifty invention of iron-on edging. Yep, you press it on with your clothes iron.
See the rough edge?
The Band-It edging sticks right to it. You line it up and press it on making sure the top edge is even. If the edging is wider than the plywood, no problem…
…as you simply run the Band-It trimmer along the edge and it trims away any excess. You can also trim the excess with a sharp craft knife.
Step-by-Step: How to Use Band-It Edging and Trimmer
1. Use a rag to dust off the rough edges of your boards.
2. Heat up your clothes iron. Lay the veneer along the edge and simply press it on with the hot iron. E-Z!
3. Presto-chango! No more rough edge.
4. If the height of the veneer is more than the height of the edge of the board, simply run a knife along the edge to trim the excess veneer or use the handy little edge trimmer.
To finish off the bottom of the grey laminate file cabinets, I used my miter saw to cut baseboard and shoe molding. I glued it on with Liquid Nails.
Once I had all the wood trim on, I painted everything with Waverly Inspirations chalk paint in White. I usually make my own chalk paint when I want a custom color, but when using white, you can’t go wrong with using the Waverly brand since it works so well and is super affordable, plus you can buy it in small quantities.
Since I was painting over laminate and the smooth finish on the new file cabinet, I went over all the file cabinets with 100 grit sandpaper to provide some tooth to the smooth surfaces. I cleaned the sanding grit off and then I brushed on two light coats of the white chalk paint, letting the first coat dry, before adding the second. Once the paint was dry, I brushed on a coat of Minwax Polycrylic over the chalk paint on the file cabinets.
How to Make the Work Table Top
For the work table top: I used leftover polyurethane from the Giani Countertop painting kit I used for sealing my painted kitchen counters. I rolled on two light coats, letting the first coat dry for 4 hours before applying the second.
How to Paint Drawer Pulls the Easy Way
The last thing I needed to do was to paint the existing silver file cabinet drawer pulls to gold. Here is how I did it.
- Sand the pulls with 100 grit sandpaper to provide some tooth. Clean off sanding grit and make sure they are free of oils and dirt.
- Find a block of styrofoam from appliance packaging. (I save the styrofoam when I get new appliances and stuff that is shipped in boxes) Place a piece of plastic wrap around it tightly and secure with tape on the bottom (I didn’t do this, but should have. If you don’t, foam may get on the bottom of the pulls.) and place toothpicks in the foam the width of the screws holes.
- Place the pulls or knobs over the toothpicks.
- Spray the knobs with one light coat. Wait about 3-5 minutes and then spray a second coat. If they need another coat, wait another few minutes and then spray on another light coat. Let sit until dry. Do all spraying within the first hour. If you spray a coat on after an hour, the paint will end up wrinkling.
- Once dry, apply a light coat of Minwax Polycrylic. I only had the brush-on formula, but it does come in a spray can.
The nice thing about the block of foam is that you can hold it up easily to get the spray paint to the hard to reach areas under the pulls.
Now I have a few work stations around my craft room to different types of work and crafty projects.
Now I have to work on doing something to make those pesky electrical cords disappear. :-)